Plants, microgreens, and fresh produce are all the hype during this quarantine and stay-at-home season. If you’re one of the very few people who have green thumbs, then maybe it’s high time to turn your hobby into a profitable business!
Read on and find out how you can be a FarmTita or FarmTito – bank on your green thumb and take advantage of this opportunity to profit from your passion. Here are some digital tools that can help turn your business dreams into reality and reach your potential customers-in-waiting at home.
Probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to reach your potential customers online is through Facebook (thanks to free Facebook!). You can easily set up a page for your business, upload photos of your fresh produce up for sale, and yes, even take orders through Messenger–voila, you now have set up your business online at no cost. And if you’ve finally set up your regular offers and packages with fixed prices, you can use Facebook’s Marketplace to advertise your products.
Go Fresh is one of the businesses that use Messenger to take in orders for fresh produce to be delivered around Calamba, Laguna. You can set up your own in your locale and even expand your reach through Instagram: upload gram-worthy photos of your produce and take orders through Instagram Direct.
Setting up an online presence is one thing, delivering the products to your clients is another. If you have a motorcycle or vehicle and you can deliver the customers’ orders to them, well and good. But what if you don’t? Take advantage of available delivery apps in the market like Grab, Angkas, and Lalamove. They might add a bit of a cost to your operations but you are assured you will be able to track your deliveries safe and sound.
If you have quite established yourself as a business, you can even apply as a merchant to these delivery apps. GrabMart is an additional delivery service from Grab for groceries and essentials, a helpful added tool for farm businesses like yours to accept orders online.
But, it’s never too late to invest in having your own delivery system. If you can finance it, you can start with one or two delivery vehicles. Who knows? Your business might just get big enough!
In keeping with the trend of transitioning the whole purchase process online–from ordering to delivery–mobile payment is becoming more popular. Cashless transactions are now preferred because the exchange of physical money can increase the risk of virus transmission.
So transfer money, not the virus! You can set up a mobile payment system through your bank’s mobile app. All you need is your account number to send to your customers. They can then transfer the payment through these mobile apps and you can monitor these on yours. The best thing about it? It’s instant and safe!
What if you don’t have a bank account? There are other options for mobile payment that don’t run on bank accounts. Mobile wallets, like G-Cash and Paymaya, are your go-to to accept payments–all you need to set these up is your mobile number!
Maybe you want to make it easier for your customers to order or have your purchases organized in a table, then you can use Google Forms. All you need is a Gmail account (which you can set up for free) and you can use Forms to create an online order sign-up. You can list your products in a checklist or drop-down menu so your customers don’t need to type in every single product. Plus, the results from the filled out forms are automatically loaded in a Google Sheet table so you can track them easily. And yes, it’s all free to use!
You can take inspiration from The Murang Gulay Shop who uses Google Forms to take in orders. There are spaces in the forms to also put your important notes or directions for your customers, like scope and schedule of deliveries.
Online Selling Sites
The best time to advertise your products to your customers: when they are in a shopping mood. For physical stores, this means malls and groceries. But online, the shopping vibe is on at online selling sites.
You can easily sign up to be a merchant and set up your own online store within online selling websites like Lazada and Shopee. The good thing about this is these sites have their own e-commerce mechanism so they can handle the payment and delivery for you. All you have to do is make sure the products are ready for pick up and wait for the payment to come in.
But nothing beats having your website. First, it legitimizes your business. Next, you can customize every part of your online presence–from your branding and look to the purchase process. Lastly, you have full control of the whole transaction. (For example, do you first want the customer to input their location so you can tailor-fit your selection, or do you want your best selling products to appear first?) Plus, having your own site opens up to a lot of possibilities like new businesses or operations beyond your farm.
Zagana.com and freshmarket.ph are just some of the great inspirations for farm-to-customer e-commerce sites. Websites can also allow you to have a customer database at a basic level so you offer specific add-on services for faster transactions like repeat purchases and saving addresses.
Of course, like any start-up, this will require capital. Expenses like purchasing the web address, setting up the website (or hiring a website developer to do it for you), setting up the e-commerce function, etc. are all essential to getting your business off the ground.
This is where we can help. For any funding/capital needs, send us a message so we can get you started asap.